Our 15 year business seems like its on its last 30 days here, could really use input..

56 replies
I hate complaining because things weren't so bad just a couple months ago as we were getting a bit of rain. But in the last month I think its rained 1-2 times and they were very fast/light systems.

Imagine this, our business has been running for about 15 years, and I can't remember one time in the last 4 years where things got this bad.

We do basement waterproofing, and I do NOT know what to do.
My boss is losing his mind, I've seen major changes in his personality, and I feel like I want to cry for the man. He is hurting really bad and I can tell.

His main issue I think is his ONLY real source of leads over the years has been google ppc. Our PPC guy just totally stopped getting leads.

If someone in this company doesn't think outside the box, and think of something fast, I guarantee we'll be out of business within the next 30 days.

WHAT CAN WE DO? We also sell mold services, foundation repair services aside from waterproofing but we always focused mainly on waterproofing.

So I'm understanding this is what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket.

Whats really worrying me is after all these years, my boss is going to let go of our PPC guy. He was the ONLY one who was ever able to get us leads, but my boss can't afford him anymore (he was also very cocky and arrogant but he did get us a lot of leads at one point).

My plan to my boss was this:

Fire the PPC guy.
Give me money for adwords and I will charge him 1/4 what he's paying his ppc guy and I'll run the campaigns in house so we can all collectively have input for bettering our strategy.

But I will also dump money into yahoo advertising and youtube because I feel like depending on adwords alone is stupid.

There is service magic too, but its expensive, all they're getting right now is mold leads, and the quality hasn't been that good.

One of our top competitors seems to be doing fine, but they have 11 websites FFS and 1 of their sites rankings number 1 in google.

Our site ranks mainly between the 2 and 5th pages. So w/out ppc we're screwed, but even with ppc I'm not sure we're going to make it.

If you were the owner of this business what would you do?
Would you start looking for more experienced PPC people?

Would you start dumping money into other forms of advertising you've never used before? Like yahoo and youtube, maybe even facebook?

Should be launch PPC targeting completely different keywords like "foundation repair nj" instead of "basement waterproofing nj"? Or maybe just turn our focus more to mold and foundation repair in instead of waterproofing? Because right now it seems waterproofing is just dead. Only time we ever get leads is for weeks after heavy rains. Last year we got tons of big systems that came through, even a hurricane, and the year before it rained a lot heavier during our rainy season (which is april to july when its at its peak).

I realize this is an overwhelming amount of issues here, and we're going down we're going down. But I want to know that I tried absolutely everything I could for the last 30 days.

There HAS TO BE some way to turn this situation around, and right now my boss is lost, I'm lost, and our other 2 sales guys are lost because they haven't been selling jobs.

We also tried cold calling before but it turned out to be a waste of money, no matter how good our script we always had to call hundreds upon hundreds of people just to get one lead.

I do NOT know what to do and could REALLY use any bit of help you guys have.

Thanks - Red
#business #days #input #year
  • Profile picture of the author Wendy Maki
    Do you have a website? An email list?

    Where do the PPC ads bring a prospect to?

    Here's a couple of quick ideas for getting traffic:

    Create a quick video demonstrating what your service does. Waterproofing should have some interesting visuals. Post on YouTube. Target keywords and tags related to someone needing help with their basement.

    Write a couple of good articles that someone searching for help with their basements would be looking for (target those keywords).

    Make sure the keywords you target are geo-targeted, that is, targeted to the area your business serves. Ditto for YouTube, and any content you write for your website and/or article distribution.

    Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author Lori Kelly
    Terribly sorry to hear about the business.

    Since the basement waterproofing is slow and you/your company have other options, definitely concentrate on those other options.

    Being in business as long as you have, surely you have referral and repeat business, right? You have tried an offline marketing techniques?

    Realtors might be a good resource since they are working with buyers who get inspection reports before purchasing properties. If there are foundations that need to be repaired, you might be able to get some work from Realtors. Same deal on the mold issue. I know Realtors get bombarded with solicitations, but if you create something unique, you get on a list of the top agents, that might get you some business.

    I wish there was more I could do to help. I'll be sending positive vibes your way.

    All the best - Lori
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  • Profile picture of the author David Keith
    From your explanation it seems that largely mother nature has made your services no longer needed for the time being.

    It doesn't really sound like you have an advertising problem. It would be one thing if all your competitors were doing all the work they could do and your not getting any calls, but i highly suspect thats not the case here.

    If no one needs your services any longer for some reason(mother nature), then even advertising and reaching a full 100% of your potential clients is probably unlikely to lead to many... if any sales.

    It sounds like diversification into other more in-demand services is your answer not advertising.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jacqueline Smith
      Originally Posted by David Keith View Post

      It sounds like diversification into other more in-demand services is your answer not advertising.
      Exactly my thought!

      If any business is so dependent on one factor (in your case...rain), the odds of survival are drastically reduced.

      I am sure the skills you all have for the work you do can be utilized in similar types of work.

      Good Luck.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
      Originally Posted by David Keith View Post

      From your explanation it seems that largely mother nature has made your services no longer needed for the time being.

      It doesn't really sound like you have an advertising problem. It would be one thing if all your competitors were doing all the work they could do and your not getting any calls, but i highly suspect thats not the case here.

      If no one needs your services any longer for some reason(mother nature), then even advertising and reaching a full 100% of your potential clients is probably unlikely to lead to many... if any sales.

      It sounds like diversification into other more in-demand services is your answer not advertising.
      I completely agree with David on this one... Try looking into diversification and coming up with a valuable service you guys can do when it's not raining much.

      You guys deal with leaky basements so there must be a lot of digging. If I were about to lose my business I would be offering to dig trenches/excavation for Plumbers, electricians, pool companies and general contractors.

      You could also offer your services for leaky in-ground pool owners or be on-call to those pool companies who service their clients as well.

      Also, you guys could look into doing driveway overhauls. I have been recently looking into getting my driveway redone. removing the asphalt and replacing it with cement. It's a huge job to dig out and haul away the old driveway, regrade, level and pour the cement. I was shocked to learn that the quote for this is over $12,000
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  • Profile picture of the author equanto
    Its seems, you were the one who can save they all
    try to convince your boss more
    with the past 15 years experience, you must be have something in value
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  • Try Craigslist that will help alot
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  • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
    THANK YOU ALL WHO POSTED ADVICE I REALLY APPRECIATE IT!

    I can't tell you what it means not only to get advice from marketers on here, but marketers with a STELLAR reputation, many of which I have followed myself and already got tons of advice from indirectly.

    I believe youtube is an excellent idea, I'm grabbing my bosses hi def camera and immediately getting some targeted videos up.

    Targeting other services also makes more sense than anything.
    Even if I need to get a page up for a totally different service (like basement finishing) I'm willing to do whatever can keep this company afloat.

    The website btw was:
    All County Waterproofing - Basement Waterproofing Services in NJ-


    I'm going to an ad up for basement finishing in our slider, and push foundation repair a bit more too. I'm also going to design a LP for basement finishing, and devote my free $300 microsoft voucher just for that page. I will use youtube, and the offline recommendation was great too. My boss registered 2 weeks ago for a homeshow tommorow, so MAYBE we can get some business through the show we'll see.

    Aside from that I have about 10 gigs going on fiver right now and we're doing a lot of work to get more offers on the site, and make it look a bit cleaner/more professional.

    I think for now my best bet will be taking my focus OFF waterproofing like some have said, and really starting to push other services with more diversification.

    Someone mentioned referals and we did get some in April (I believe it was 5), but in May we got 0 referals, and only 2 jobs from ppc. Since june began we have not got 1 lead yet, which is why we're all begining to panic here.

    Again, THANK YOU everyone for the feedback I really appreciate it.

    -Red

    ps. craigslist isn't that bad of idea, but I remember posting on it for like 2 years straight at one point and we barely got any business at all off it. I would post in the morning, then again around 3, and it wasn't that effective for us in the past.

    However, my copywriting back then wasn't really up to par, and this time I will try using videos instead (the ones I'm making for youtube). All we really need to stay afloat is about 3 leads a month, we don't make any money that way, but right now our main concern is just staying in business.
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  • Profile picture of the author FreeMeal
    Do you have a list of former clients from the last 15 years? Maybe you can start calling to check up on them? Offer them some sort of aftercare or up-sell?
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  • Profile picture of the author Brian Tayler
    Yes look at back customers. That is what matters, and will be the easiest to sell to.

    "I would recommend these guys to anyone. A++++ Service." - Brian – Ewing, NJ
    "I definitely recommend them to anyone." - Mercedes - Bridgewater, NJ

    At the very least contact your past customers and setup a referral program. Give your past customers $50-$100 for any leads they give you. If these testimonials are genuine and they really are so passionate about recommending you guys... they should be an area of help.
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  • Profile picture of the author Virtualghost
    Not trying to be funny but may want to get into underground sprinkler business if your area lacks rain I'm sure you have the machinery which is a plus to start something different.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeannie Crabtree
    You could build a few satelite sites for some of your keywords. I knew of a fence guy that was systematically building a local site for each of his keywords.

    Contact past clients.

    Can the owner put together a course to train others outside of the area. Many people are willing to find out the ins and outs of a business from another person.
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  • Profile picture of the author Hunk
    You really should be posting this in the offline marketing section of the forum, I think - heaps of good advice in there. I don't understand why a home improvement business only gets leads from internet searches, surely cold calls and direct mail are better options for your line of work... I used to work for the biggest home heating company in my country, and the telemarketing department/free home assessment team was our biggest marketing asset.
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    • Profile picture of the author dougp
      Honestly, I dont think investing more funds into ppc will help at this point. Its kind of hard to sell snow removal services in the summer in Miami regardless of how good of a marketer you are.

      However, what i would highly recommend is taking advantage of all of these leads that you have aggregated over the years. Its time for your company to diversify and open up a new service.

      Develop a pollen removal service and make a very informative page on it about your site. Its crazy how much air pollution the average American have these days and it can lead to all kinds of respiratory problems.

      This should in theory require zero dollars in advertising, all it requires is parsing your email account for old customers emails, developing a new quality service, and then selling it. I would recommend a limited time discount to your old customers, think groupon . Best of luck.

      Doug
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  • Profile picture of the author Will Edwards
    Fire the PPC guy.
    Give me money for adwords and I will charge him 1/4 what he's paying his ppc guy and I'll run the campaigns in house so we can all collectively have input for bettering our strategy.
    Here's a better plan:

    - Fire the PPC guy
    - You'll run the PPC campaigns for nothing
    - In return you get 40% of the business

    It's a win-win proposition. If you don't resue the business, you don't get paid - that's a win for your boss. If you do, you get 40% (negotiable) of the business - that's a win for you.

    Good luck,

    Will
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    • Profile picture of the author TheSalesBooster
      Get the campaign information from the PPC guy before you fire him.

      Tell him to give you what ads were working in bringing in leads. Then simply open your own account and replicate it. (Assuming the ad campaign was any good). Also spread your advertising to places like bing. You are probably missing the older demographic by not advertising on bing.

      Also on your website id change your font. It looks like everything is bolded. take that off and put it back to normal text and use bold for important stuff because everything bold is hard to read.
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      • Profile picture of the author KenJ
        Hi Redshifted

        I am sorry to hear of these problems. It can happen to any business as markets change. I had a similar problem about 3 years ago. Except that PPC never really worked for me. I do not do any PPC now.

        What I did was film on site my staff doing the work. Just honest simple demonstration of our work with occasional explanations as to why we were doing it. I made about 20 of these videos and they all rank well. In total my videos on youtube get about 120,000 views a year for what is very specialist work.

        What also happens is that customers who have seen the videos are more ready to order. They are better quality leads.

        So we get customers coming to our show room saying "I saw your video...." They are classic pre-sold customers as they are looking for what we are offering.

        KenJ
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  • Profile picture of the author romanos8
    Banned
    sorry about that but don't give up with every problem there is a way to solve it if you just keep on trying and look at the options you got and just be happy with it remember there's a reason for everything
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  • Profile picture of the author sanjx01
    Hey Red,

    In circumstances like this, spending money online isn't the best solution in my experience.

    The best thing your boss could do in this situation is do some direct mail.

    Remember - a new customer costs approx 7 times more than re-activating an existing one.

    What I would recommend to your boss is to do a direct mail campaign to his existing clients asking them for more business.

    This is what will without a doubt get him the immediate cash he needs with the best return on investment (provided he is using a professionally written letter by a copywriter).

    I'd focus on the online stuff, once he gets more business in.

    Hope this helps!

    ~S
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  • Profile picture of the author peewhy
    If you are not in LinkedIn, can I suggest you join not only will you be able to connect with fresh new clients but you might also catch up with pst and existing ones that will recommend you.

    I've generated a lot of leads in LinkedIn
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  • Profile picture of the author Keithyt
    I would agree with Ken J. His post is highly significant as he is a savvy business owner who has been though a similar situation. Videos don't always have to be done by camera.

    To save time at the outset -as time seems to be a factor here - why not trial a couple of freebie and low cost subscription sites like One True Media which offer templates? Once you have produced them, you can backlink your keywords and tag them on You Tube.

    As Ken says, by demonstrating the added value of what your employer does, rather than advertising claims on PPC, potential and existing customers will be able to see for themselves. In essence, you are getting into PR (as in public relations although would affect Page Rank too) over advertising. Post back an update here to see how things are panning out? Between us, why might be able to advise further.

    Linkedin too as above - you can link your vids to Twitter, linkedin and Facebook
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Lori Kelly View Post

      Terribly sorry to hear about the business.

      Since the basement waterproofing is slow and you/your company have other options, definitely concentrate on those other options.

      Being in business as long as you have, surely you have referral and repeat business, right? You have tried an offline marketing techniques?

      Realtors might be a good resource since they are working with buyers who get inspection reports before purchasing properties. If there are foundations that need to be repaired, you might be able to get some work from Realtors. Same deal on the mold issue. I know Realtors get bombarded with solicitations, but if you create something unique, you get on a list of the top agents, that might get you some business.

      I wish there was more I could do to help. I'll be sending positive vibes your way.

      All the best - Lori
      Piggy-backing on Lori's excellent suggestion, you could try contacting banks about their REO portfolios, as well as insurance companies. Find out if any of the insurers offer discounts for waterproofed basements. If they do, try to rent the list of their insureds and contact them with a save-money-even-if-it-doesn't-rain offer.

      Are there any large RE investment groups in your market area? Perhaps you could come up with a kind of retainer type offer for them, trading cash flow now for discounts later.

      Here's another question for you...

      Are there any problems your extended drought could cause with basements or foundations? Is your company equipped and/or qualified to alleviate those problems?

      Are there any other problems caused by extended dry spells that your company is ready to deal with?

      You might find a whole new market to serve...

      Good luck to you.
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  • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
    Would you start dumping money into other forms of advertising you've never used before? Like yahoo and youtube, maybe even facebook?
    Given you should have already years worth of ppc results, you should now have a very solid platform to work from, so rather than go out and look for ghosts that may or may not be there, carefully examine what you have and strip away the bull this if done right should leave you with a very solid and proven / strong set of ads and keywords that have consistently worked over time.

    If you were going to expand into other ad networks it would be those proven winners that you would use on a very close eye type expansion into those networks.

    It may also pay to play out a ad type / focus on, > while the sun shines save xyz % in our off season, do not be one of the silly ones to pay full dollars in the rain / the smart people save money for a rainy day< type ads as well.

    just a small part to add to the others above.
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  • Profile picture of the author Paleruby
    I would try Tim Castlemans Postcard method. You can read about it at his site. Also create some other "competition" sites with different looks and pricing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    While reading through this thread I kept thinking to myself.

    How can I get into peoples basements?

    Basements that aren't finished are usually dark, musky, and cluttered with stuff.

    You could offer a service like basement junk removal and cleaning, which would allow you to visually inspect the basement during the cleaning process for problem areas and leaks.

    Offer it on the cheap, just enough to pay labor, disposal if needed and a small markup. This could help generate instant cash flow.

    You can even tie this in with a charity like Goodwill as a part of the service.

    Capture all the information including email addresses so you can market to them in the future.

    Then should you come across a basement that has problems that need to be addressed you can up sell the waterproofing service to them right then and there. If you spot trouble areas that don't need immediate attention but should be addressed in the near future you can note that too.

    Actually you could provide a free basement/exterior foundation inspection while cleaning out the basement.

    Just my thoughts but its what I'd do starting Monday.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruce NewMedia
    As a young man one of my first jobs was a basement waterproofing salesman. Granted this was a long time ago, but I did closely obseerve how they generated the leads we sales guys ran...it was almost all telemarketer leads. And much of it went into NEWER home neighborhoods.

    Now at first, that struck me as odd, since i figured the best market would be older homes, with concrete block foundations that were cracking and shifting due to age.

    But the sales manager explained that their best appt and sales results came from newer homes just out of the HOW warranty that were leaking. Those owners were used to protection and could not stand the prospect of a leaking basement....whereas the older home owners had come to accept that "basements leak" and it's just not worth spending to repair them, unless the whole house is floating away every heavy rain!

    Note, this one change in WHO they targeted made them far more profitable.
    _____
    Bruce
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    • Profile picture of the author PR Wizard
      Might I suggest going old-school and using flyers? Maybe try some advertising techniques that have nothing to do with the internet. My husband has a traditional bricks and mortar business and we regularly put flyers out and it has been very good for us.

      Spend an hour putting together a good promotional flyer that includes a coupon on the bottom. Maybe also include something on the bottom that says, "Refer 3 friends and receive your service for free!" Depending on where you live you can put flyers on cars, front doors, public bulletin boards etc. (Check your local laws, some cities require a small license fee for flyering. $15/ year here. Never ever put them in mail boxes.) Offer your service for free to other local business owners if they will help you with your advertising. Example, if you know of a busy restaurant that gets a ton of foot traffic, offer the owner a freebie in exchange for posting your flyer on their front door. Also you can ask other non-related business's if they will allow you to put a few flyers on their counter.

      When you create your flyer make sure you have some type of call to action. It is important that anyone who sees your flyer understands what your service is and why they need it. Hope this helps!
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      • Profile picture of the author ronr
        Over that many years you must have built a big client list. That can be one of your biggest assets and you'll probably get a higher return from marketing to them than new clients.

        Assuming you did good work, they like and trust you.

        1) Find another service you can offer them.

        2) Even easier, think of commentary services you can offer them and make deals with other companies and have them will do the work. You keep a percentage.

        To get new clients, find other commentary non-competing businesses who offer services that you can partner with. Offer them a percentage on any referrals they send you.

        Ron
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  • Profile picture of the author David Raybould
    First things first.

    Take a deep breath, and let yourself
    panic. Put your head in your hands and
    think about the sky falling and all that
    bad stuff. Wallow.

    But only do it for 20 minutes.

    Got that out of your system?

    Now it's time to fix this situation. And
    we're going to do it with just 3 words.

    Direct mail, baby!

    Einstein's oft quoted definition of insanity
    is doing the same thing over and over, but
    expecting a different result. Paraphrasing,
    obviously, but that's what you guys are
    doing here with the whole PPC addiction.

    Forget PPC. It's not working for you. But
    businesses thrived and people became
    billionaires long before PPC was invented.

    Gary Halbert said there's no problem that
    can't be saved with a good salesletter,
    and I tend to agree with him.

    Here's how to do it:

    Go through some of your past clients'
    details. What do they have in common?

    Figure that out, then figure where to find
    more people like that.

    Then send them an irresistible offer.

    Rinse. Repeat.

    PM me if you need help with this. It WILL
    work for you.

    Good luck with it.

    -David Raybould

    PS- Do you have records of all your clients
    in the past couple of years?

    The easy win is to contact them and offer
    them something else. A free re-inspection
    with an upsell attached, or whatever.

    There's money sitting in your customer records,
    and it's up to you to get it.

    Ready, set... GO!
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    Killer Emails. Cash-spewing VSLs. Turbocharged Landing Pages.

    Whatever you need, my high converting copy puts more money in your pocket. PM for details. 10 years experience and 9 figure revenues.
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    • Profile picture of the author karlmay1980
      Originally Posted by David Raybould View Post

      First things first.

      Take a deep breath, and let yourself
      panic. Put your head in your hands and
      think about the sky falling and all that
      bad stuff. Wallow.

      But only do it for 20 minutes.

      Got that out of your system?

      Now it's time to fix this situation. And
      we're going to do it with just 3 words.

      Direct mail, baby!

      Einstein's oft quoted definition of insanity
      is doing the same thing over and over, but
      expecting a different result. Paraphrasing,
      obviously, but that's what you guys are
      doing here with the whole PPC addiction.

      Forget PPC. It's not working for you. But
      businesses thrived and people became
      billionaires long before PPC was invented.

      Gary Halbert said there's no problem that
      can't be saved with a good salesletter,
      and I tend to agree with him.

      Here's how to do it:

      Go through some of your past clients'
      details. What do they have in common?

      Figure that out, then figure where to find
      more people like that.

      Then send them an irresistible offer.

      Rinse. Repeat.

      PM me if you need help with this. It WILL
      work for you.

      Good luck with it.

      -David Raybould

      PS- Do you have records of all your clients
      in the past couple of years?

      The easy win is to contact them and offer
      them something else. A free re-inspection
      with an upsell attached, or whatever.

      There's money sitting in your customer records,
      and it's up to you to get it.

      Ready, set... GO!
      You said basically what I was going too, couldnt even add anything, good work and totally agree!
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    • Profile picture of the author WinstonTian
      David and Bruce have advice that I second...excellent business advice. I stand behind direct mail as well - I have seen absolutely CRAZY lead surges via direct mail as opposed to broadcasting to "cold leads".

      Winston Tian

      Originally Posted by David Raybould View Post

      Direct mail, baby!

      Forget PPC. It's not working for you. But
      businesses thrived and people became
      billionaires long before PPC was invented.

      Gary Halbert said there's no problem that
      can't be saved with a good salesletter,
      and I tend to agree with him.

      PS- Do you have records of all your clients
      in the past couple of years?

      The easy win is to contact them and offer
      them something else. A free re-inspection
      with an upsell attached, or whatever.

      There's money sitting in your customer records,
      and it's up to you to get it.

      Ready, set... GO!
      Signature

      Cheers,
      Winston
      The Beginner's Doctor

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  • Profile picture of the author Rojak Moon
    The weather along with the economy is putting a lot of good people out of business. However, you've been given a ton of good marketing information from some good people here. Use it and prosper Grasshopper. Wishing you and your company nothing but the best.
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  • Profile picture of the author pcpupil
    I have my own home remodeling company and i have an airless paint sprayer.
    But,if i put in a bigger tip,it will also spray on the white roof coating that besides water proofing the roof, also reflects the sun light,and cools the attic, which cools the house.
    Look at your tools and see what else can be done with them.
    My instance is,instead of having 2, $500 machines, I have one, and just a $30 tip. But I can now do 2 different jobs.
    Next,I go to a home improvement store,buy some paint, and then check with my old customers and tell them i got special pricing on some paint,and i will paint there house,garage, or "Basement". All they have to pay is the labor charge, the paint is Free.
    If you are using any kind of a spray gun, it can be used for other purposes.

    Mold, is big here in AZ. A house can not even be put on the market with mold in it. And,it has to stripped to the studs in the whole area where the mold is. Not just a few spots fixed.
    Check on this.

    Check with your old customers and ask to see if they need a re do. I bet your cost of some new sealer would be less pricey than a bunch of ppc that may not work.
    Buy sealer and redo your older customers for labor only.
    Then,buy them a steak dinner for 4 referrals that BUY a waterproofing repair.
    Do any of your employees know how to repair concrete block?
    Do any of you stucco?
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    I can help relieve your work load.Pm me

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  • Profile picture of the author JasonParker
    Some ideas...

    -Contact your existing customer database with a special offer

    -Create a referral program with your current customers to bring in new leads

    -Set up a joint venture partnership with other companies in your area

    -Read everything Jay Abraham ever wrote... Starting with Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You've Got

    To me it sounds like you're entirely focused on generating leads, which is the most expensive thing to do.

    ...While the cheapest and often most profitable thing to do is increase your sales with your existing customers.

    What other services could you provide to your current customers?

    What kind of special offers can you make to them by phone or direct mail?

    Since you're short on cash, it sounds like your only options for a quick surge of cash are either form Joint Venture partnerships to bring in new leads for "free" or sell to your existing customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author ttdub
    I definitely second the posting videos to youtube. I would also try PPC with Bing if you haven't yet. It seems they can be better than Google in many instances. I'm so sorry as to what's been happening. It's very kind of you to try and help your boss and the business out. Good luck to you!
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  • Profile picture of the author J. Barry Mandel
    I did not read any of the above posts, but what I would do is to create a fantastic direct mail campaign to local home owners:

    "WATER PROOF YOUR BASEMENT BEFORE ITS TOO LATE & SAVE 40% IMMEDIATELY."

    Dear Home owner,

    My name is Joe Smith and I'm the owner of XYZ Waterproofing. Because mother nature has not released her powerful rain storms on us recently I am offering you 40% off waterproofing your home but only if you call me within the next 48-hours.

    etc.

    Sincerely,
    Joe Smith from XYZ



    Hope that helps and best of Luck,

    Justin
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  • Profile picture of the author fated82
    Before doing anything to 'improve' the business. I would sit down with your boss and go through the following, in sequence:

    1) What is the reason he started this biz 15 years ago?

    2) What is the end results when using the services your company provide?

    3) Does your services require maintenance? if so, how often?

    4) Do you have a list of your past customers and if so, can you reactivate them again?

    5) Besides PPC, what other ways can you drive leads? Cold calls? Offline ads? Referrals? Door to door sales?

    6) What other complimentary services that wasn't currently available can you provide in future?

    7) What type of businesses can help market your services and can you do JV with them?

    Here are some ideas I would use to jump start the biz. I think if the business has been running for 15 years, it should sound and all you need is an influx of marketing ideas. Obviously, these ideas don't work until you act on it. Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    Originally Posted by RedShifted View Post

    My plan to my boss was this:

    Fire the PPC guy.
    Give me money for adwords and I will charge him 1/4 what he's paying his ppc guy and I'll run the campaigns ...
    If you are truly concerned about the business why did you ask to "charge" your employer? You're putting your interests ahead of the business. As an employee you have no right to "charge" your employer. You have a right to collect a paycheck and that's it

    There's plenty of ideas in this thread. My suggestion is consider them and pursue as appropriate, but leave out of your plan the idea that you're smarter than everyone else and are going to start charging your employer extra for your services. That's a step toward the unemployment line.

    .
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  • Profile picture of the author blalock61
    Has your company ever registered with Service Magic: ServiceMagic.com | Get Matched to Top-Rated Remodelers, Plumbers & More

    If not, you all should check them out.
    Signature

    Effort & Attitude!

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  • Profile picture of the author jaiganeshv
    1. Spot the hot selling products in Amazon in your category, (example home improvement)
    Amazon Best Sellers: best Home Improvement

    2. Try to spot hot selling hardware tools in Amazon right now THIS SEASON.

    3. Spot products that you can offer as a service. People are in need of those services which they are buying tools/products to do themselves. You can target this service.

    When you advertise product/service that is hot it is easy and cheap.

    Hope it helps. Just my two cents in case if it can help.


    Thank you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Muhsin Aziz
    Totally sorry to hear about your business.
    Your lead generation source should always come from
    various sources & not just google ppc.
    There is a saying 'diversify or die'.
    This saying applies to all business when generatin leads.
    Have u tried Facebook ppc & classified ads.
    They are good sources to find leads.
    Wish you all the best for your boss's business.
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  • Profile picture of the author Des Lau
    It's a great deal of stress to run a business that can be affected by weather. My friend recently had his 2million dollar warehouse flooded because of the heavy rain and having a stormwater drain running through it didn't help!

    I would suggest local video marketing.

    Obviously the leads are drying out (no pun intended) so you will have to go fishing for them. Check this site out which may give you ideas localvideomethod [dot] com

    wish you every success!
    Signature
    -----------------------------

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  • Originally Posted by RedShifted View Post

    I hate complaining because things weren't so bad just a couple months ago as we were getting a bit of rain. But in the last month I think its rained 1-2 times and they were very fast/light systems.

    Imagine this, our business has been running for about 15 years, and I can't remember one time in the last 4 years where things got this bad.

    We do basement waterproofing, and I do NOT know what to do.
    My boss is losing his mind, I've seen major changes in his personality, and I feel like I want to cry for the man. He is hurting really bad and I can tell.

    His main issue I think is his ONLY real source of leads over the years has been google ppc. Our PPC guy just totally stopped getting leads.

    If someone in this company doesn't think outside the box, and think of something fast, I guarantee we'll be out of business within the next 30 days.

    WHAT CAN WE DO? We also sell mold services, foundation repair services aside from waterproofing but we always focused mainly on waterproofing.

    So I'm understanding this is what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket.

    Whats really worrying me is after all these years, my boss is going to let go of our PPC guy. He was the ONLY one who was ever able to get us leads, but my boss can't afford him anymore (he was also very cocky and arrogant but he did get us a lot of leads at one point).

    My plan to my boss was this:

    Fire the PPC guy.
    Give me money for adwords and I will charge him 1/4 what he's paying his ppc guy and I'll run the campaigns in house so we can all collectively have input for bettering our strategy.

    But I will also dump money into yahoo advertising and youtube because I feel like depending on adwords alone is stupid.

    There is service magic too, but its expensive, all they're getting right now is mold leads, and the quality hasn't been that good.

    One of our top competitors seems to be doing fine, but they have 11 websites FFS and 1 of their sites rankings number 1 in google.

    Our site ranks mainly between the 2 and 5th pages. So w/out ppc we're screwed, but even with ppc I'm not sure we're going to make it.

    If you were the owner of this business what would you do?
    Would you start looking for more experienced PPC people?

    Would you start dumping money into other forms of advertising you've never used before? Like yahoo and youtube, maybe even facebook?

    Should be launch PPC targeting completely different keywords like "foundation repair nj" instead of "basement waterproofing nj"? Or maybe just turn our focus more to mold and foundation repair in instead of waterproofing? Because right now it seems waterproofing is just dead. Only time we ever get leads is for weeks after heavy rains. Last year we got tons of big systems that came through, even a hurricane, and the year before it rained a lot heavier during our rainy season (which is april to july when its at its peak).

    I realize this is an overwhelming amount of issues here, and we're going down we're going down. But I want to know that I tried absolutely everything I could for the last 30 days.

    There HAS TO BE some way to turn this situation around, and right now my boss is lost, I'm lost, and our other 2 sales guys are lost because they haven't been selling jobs.

    We also tried cold calling before but it turned out to be a waste of money, no matter how good our script we always had to call hundreds upon hundreds of people just to get one lead.

    I do NOT know what to do and could REALLY use any bit of help you guys have.

    Thanks - Red
    What I will do I will be using facebook advertising as is cheaper and more targeted if you set it right than google adwords. Also build a facebook fanpage to direct all customers and visitors and you can interact with them easily and friendly.
    Pm me and I will send a video of tne facebook advertising.
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    • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tanner
      I didn't read all of the posts in this thread, so someone may have already mentioned this, but...

      If I was your boss, I would start looking into additional services I could offer (preferably services that have good, consistent demand in the area), as there can only be so many people in your service area that need basement waterproofing at any given time.

      So you might try contacting your existing client base, and offer them other handyman-type services, and give them a special discount if they order any service within the next x days. And you could also offer your clients referral $$ for any extra business that they send your way.
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      • Profile picture of the author AnniePot
        We recently had a company coat our garage floor with an elastomeric compound.. According to their literature, they also do driveways, patios, etc.

        This could be a service your company could offer, and some of your past clients could also be interested.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Rosa
    Thing is, you could offer all these services, but if the potential client doesn't know why they may need the service it doesn't matter.

    When your message is not clear as to why it is they need your service, then you are undercutting yourself and the prospect. You cannot leave anything up to chance.

    So in that case, what is your message? What is the WORST POSSIBLE OUTCOME that could happen to a family if they don't get your services done?

    Dip Deep, really deep into what could really hurt if they don't fix that problem they may not even know they have.

    It is not about the "thing" as in mold... It is about the feeling. Lets say if they wait too long the mold will grow and attack the foundation.. eventually leaking harmful toxins into their damaging the lungs of their children..

    Go do your research as to what the worst case scenarios HAVE BEEN and include it in your message.

    Then when you have that info, shine some light on them either giving them massive value for free and position yourself as the go to person.. or give them a free full on evaluation to ensure a safe environment for their kin.

    Gotta go deep into marketing to really make it last.

    As far as getting leads, good old info usa.. or list brokers.. Break it down to your serious target audience - age, sex, owns a home, has children... etc

    and direct your message towards them. Personally speak to them, hire a copywriter if you must. But make it happen.

    You cannot go wrong with full on education based direct response marketing.

    I hope this helps.

    David R
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    • Profile picture of the author JEasy
      Get out of the office and go door to door and try to do estimates and consulting for potential customers. Don't worry, it'll rain again. Guaranteed. When it does, your company will be in the minds of customers. Offer all of your current services. Someone may need this and someone may need that.

      Put ppc on hold and use that money for direct mail to your market. Have someone stay at the office and do outbound telemarketing to set appointments. Offline is your best bet in this situation.
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  • Profile picture of the author Theeban
    Why don't you target for SEO traffic rather than PPC. Other that that, go for classified ads sites like Craiglist and use your local directories to add about your services.

    Do bit of off-line marketing too. Like, mails, handouts and etc. Use local newspapers too.
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  • Profile picture of the author zacsmith
    We had a client who cleaned/organized houses, either to prep for sale, a move, or just to clean it up. She got inside a LOT of basements.

    Contact cleaners and organizers and make some deals for referrals/commissions, or do a joint promo with them. Then offer sealing for dustproofing and insect repellant, drying and waterproofing for damp basements (helps make a home more likely to sell), and mold elimination. Along the way look for opportunities to offer other services described by other posters.

    Don't stop with just one cleaner/organizer, get everyone in town working with you.

    Make the calls to get faster action. I'd also recommend a direct mail campaign, letters to realtors, anyone involved with homes.

    My $.02.

    gary
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    Gary Smith, Partner, Wells-Smith Partners
    Your Employee Handbook Personnel Policies for Small Businesses
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  • Profile picture of the author getty
    Leaflets would do well. Most of us do get those leaflets quite often on our doorstep and speaking for my own experience I find it most convenient, second to website advertisements.
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  • Profile picture of the author Butazi
    I only read a few posts in this topic and I'll see if I can throw in my 2 cents, sorry if anyone has already mentioned these ideas prior. I also don't know if this idea is 100% spot on but it makes sense. Understand that I have no idea how your industry works and what I'm using here is just an example.

    (If you want to continue spending PPC)
    1. Do you best to go back and try to get an idea on WHEN you get leads and people calling in for your service. If you can go to your PPC guy and try to get exact dates on when action was taken for leads, it would be perfect.
    2. With those exact dates and leads, try to find a website that has an archive of the weather in your area, here is one I found. Weather History @ Weather.org
    3. From here, match the dates of when a sale of made. Was it the following day after a storm? 2 days after a storm? When it rained? 4 days before everyone said on the news that a big storm is coming? The day before?
    4. Try to map out when your leads came as a percentage chart (use excel)
    - 10% leads came in day after rain
    - 10% leads came in 2 days after rain
    - 25% leads came on the day of rain
    - 40% leads came in 1 day before rain
    - 12% leads came in 2 days before rain
    - 3% leads came in outside of those timespans

    5. Once you get that info, cut your PPC guy or get someone to work in-house (or do it yourself?) who has common sense and tell them to pay attention to the weather, if there is no rain in site. Pause ads, as as you get closer, perhaps tinker some ads that cater towards the upcoming storm, or after the storm went through your area. I'd give particular examples but my PPC skills are almost non-existent. I am just reverse engineering this process to try to logic your way out of this situation
    6. Say if you get no sales / leads at all up until 3 days before a storm. You are just paying for clicks that no one really is bothering during this time.
    7. Doing this will eliminate unnecessary costs and will buy you some time to find other ways go BUILD and grow...like SEO


    SEO Tactics
    I am going to assume you aren't branded so you have plenty of room to work with when it comes with SEO. Just looking at your website, it needs a makeover SEO wise (no offense, I really want to help you out and give you info).

    For local searches (which would be huge in your case) you could benefit greatly if you just changed your topic titles and descriptions and just apply some basic SEO.
    Just a search for "basement waterproofing union nj" you are on page 3.
    http://vvcap.net/db/DyxHYQRms5ZVYfkqegDz.jpg

    You also have every page with the same exact page title *oops*

    There are plenty of keywords you can go after as well, your potential with SEO in my mind can literally save your business (I'm an optimist). It doesn't even look like you guys are in any directory.

    And no analytics! Argh!! And Yoast in installed but used correctly?!?! ARGH MY RAGE IS BUILDING!

    You can hire a newbie with SEO to help your website out on elance or something. I certainly wouldn't mind giving it a go. I do SEO in-house and this is just something that can be done, but I'm not 100% good with technical stuff when it comes to use of coding (but looking at this, it's wordpress so I am more familiar with that). But just looking at your website for 15 minutes, there is so much that can be done SEO wise.

    As mentioned, there is just so much potential. It's all just on-page SEO issues that pretty much can fixed.
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    I am posting while working for a company, or else I would use my name as my username. Yeah...they stalk my name.

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  • Profile picture of the author adampowers
    Tons of info here and although I haven't read all of the posts, some were simply awesome.

    As others have probably mentioned, I would dig into your past clients and call them directly trying to sell them additional services or if you don't have additional services, form an affiliate partnership with another closely related type of business where your company gets either a dollar amount per lead or a percentage of a sale (or both). The key here would be to really work on your scripts so that if you can't sell your own services to the person on the phone, you could move right into telling them about this other special offer of your affiliate. But again, this isn't cold calling, this is telemarketing done only to past clients. I hate cold calling myself, I know some people swear by it, but I did it for years when I was a real estate agent and it sucks.

    Now my second suggestion would be to write up a flier, really content driven, then have a good number printed on some bright neon color, could be yellow, green, blue, pink, whatever. Then get some type of token, like a bottle of water or something, something to wrap the flier around, it's better if the token is related to your business. Then drive around to all your previous customers houses, but you're only to leave the flier (wrapped around a token) on the front or side door (or hang it on the door) of all the neighbors houses. Here's the trick, besides talking about why your services are needed by them, the flier is going to talk about the awesome job you guys did at their neighbors house and how they were such a nice family you wanted to extend the gratitude you had for them to all their neighbors, that's why you're giving them a special promo/discount/offer/insert awesome stuff here/ deal. But this promo deal can ends within 2 or 3 weeks.

    You could pretty much fill in the blanks from there.

    I would stay away from PPC for the time being. And I also wouldn't fire the PPC guy, I would just sit down with him and let him know that you can no longer afford to have him on without him producing enough tangible leads, so if he wants to stay on, you could have him on a pay-for-performance type of situation instead. If that doesn't work for him, then simply tell him you can't afford him anymore and let him decide what he wants to do.
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  • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
    First I simply can't thank all of you enough no matter how much I say "thank you" you people will never realize how much you helped me.

    Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, something happened today that changed up my "game plan" in a major way. I had my dog in the car getting gas yesterday, and she began to panic like I've never seen before, at which point I noticed both her eyes were filling with blood.

    It scared me ****less to say the least. She is a minpin and I care about that dog more than my own self. I can't even imagine what it must be like to have kids after an experience like this.

    So I rushed her to the vet, found out she is diabetic, and both her eyes are begining to break down. I never noticed anything previous to this aside from her drinking a lot of water and peeing all the time. But I was informed if she doesn't have emergency surgery on both eyes, which is expensive, they will both have to be taken out.

    All I can say is forgive me for being as distracted as I am, but I decided I can't waste any time and now I'm not just working to help my boss save his business, but it has become extremely personal at the same time. I need quite a bit of money for the surgery, so when I got home today I picked up the phone and started calling every single past customer I could.

    I also noticed my my fear of cold calling seems to have evaporated out of nowhere as when I picked up the phone today I managed to sell 2 big mold jobs (although I must have called at least 200 past customers).

    Again, I very much appreciate all the help, but right now I'm doing nothing but cold calling all week long, for as many hours a day as it takes. I simply don't have time to feel anxiety for anything other than my dog right now, so maybe this can turn out to be a good thing, I don't know, but I suddenly seemed to have gained an ability I never knew I had. That will not be stopped by anything untill I reach my goal, which is 10 jobs I don't care what - sold by the end of the week.

    If I have to stay on that phone 20 hours a day, and sleep 4 hours every night, I will do whatever it takes at this point not only to help my dog, but help my boss save his business.

    This is too much stress for me to deal with atm and I feel like the only way out of this stress, is to jump WILDY outside my zone of comfort and start taking serious risks.

    I'm going to try to sleep & thanks again everyone who posted. I'm waking up tommorow and first thing I'm doing is picking up the phone again, taking out my list & calling everyone I possibly can. I'm also hoping I'll have the sense to actually write a script tommorow, as I made A LOT of calls today and like I said only sold 2.

    But 2 is better than nothing, and I'm sure it'll get easier as the rest of the week goes by ( I can only pray it does ). If worse comes to worse and the business does go down, I'll pick up the phone and sell websites, I don't care. I'm selling something everyday I wake up no matter what happens, and thats my only goal right now.

    -Red
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  • Profile picture of the author Reez1
    This is very terrible RedShifted, But things happen and get worse, but don't worry it'll get better. I have some ways you may be able to get the company back up on its feet.

    1) Make youtube videos, tag them with anything related to you do.
    2) Don't pay your PPC guy, as that may not help you because who know's what type of traffic he is targeting.
    3) Realtor's will help you a lot as stated above. Since Realtor's or contract builders are always working with homes and repairs, they may help you a lot with your sales to boost.

    Sorry I don't know much about homes, but that's a couple of tips I had in mind.
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  • Profile picture of the author Victor Edson
    I took a look at your site/social links, and there's definitely a few holes.

    A few posts above there are mention of keywords. the types of keywords you should be focusing on. Make a short video promoting your 15 years experience in the area and your desire to help, with a Call to Action for a free inspection, or however you do it. Get those videos ranked for the above mentioned style keywords.(the keywords people are searching your services for) focus on city/state service, service city/state that's where the buyers are.

    Then upload your videos with those types of keywords and do SEO for each video. Find the right keywords with traffic and you'll be able to get your 3 monthly leads this way alone.

    I know the mention of real estate agents has been brought up a few times in this thread, what other professionals/businesses do you know of that cold send you more leads? Connect with them on LinkedIn and make friends... friends who send you leads! Also, your LinkedIn profile isn't linking back to your webpage, not a biggy.. but if you're going to socially attract business that way it'll help conversions.

    After a job, what's the normal upsell process? Put something solid together to keep in contact with those old clients, get them Liking you on Facebook and referring you on LinkedIn even commenting on your Youtube videos. How? Just ask em. Keep in contact with them socially and sell them on another project later on, sell their friends, hell even sell their grandma.. she's on Facebook too! this will definitely increase your customer life-time value... not a money now solution, but an increase in long term profits.

    The post office offers an Every-Resident Mailing. Or for a few $/hr hire a few (or use existing employees) to distribute flyers/brochures. targetting homes for obvious foundation repairs with specific sales info. Or everyone for mold inspections. Don't focus on just 1 service, you offer many. See what works/converts best for each type of mailing. Do 1 a month in a different area... you'll get business this way.

    How'd the Home-Show go? they're a great way to meet residents and network with other contractors who can send you work. Did I mention LinkedIn? its even better. And the Home-Inspectors, Real-Estate Agents...now get this... Roofers, Plumbers and all kinds of other Home_repair contractors can send you leads, and you them! in exchange. Not everyone can fix a foundation, but for a decent commission Bob The Builder will glady send business your way. Is that your pitch to local contractors?

    Focusing on just 1 service and 1 type of lead source is what hurt. Diversify what you're advertising/marketing for.. since you offer those services anyway, let people know about it. You might see a year from now the majority of your business coming from a different aspect.

    Okay... one more thing I'd do.

    Ask your boss what'd he do BEFORE ppc?

    Action Trumps All... good job phone closing! now hit your short term goals and set up a business that pulls in more referals than it needs from several different sources
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  • Profile picture of the author Retziki
    Although i am an offliner (I sell online services to local business) i always tell my customers the truth. No matter how successful a twitter or facebook or ppc campaign might be, are only tools in the marketing toolbox.
    In that toolbox, by far, the most important tool is the phone!
    The willingness to pick it up and make cold calls determines the future of any business.
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